Ola rideshare app launches new 'mask selfie' rule

·2-min read

Rideshare service Ola is has launched a new selfie authentication technology in Australia and New Zealand to make sure drivers are wearing masks in areas where face coverings are mandatory due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The “mask selfie” feature regularly prompts drivers in between rides to take a selfie on their Ola driver app that will verify if they are wearing a mask and match the photo Ola has on file.

The new feature is designed to provide safety to passengers by not only ensuring face covering regulations are being met, but also preventing fraud by confirming the registered driver is behind the wheel.

The ‘Mask Selfie’ feature in Ola cars in Melbourne
The ‘Mask Selfie’ feature prompts drivers in between rides to take and upload a selfie on their Ola driver app to verify if they are wearing a mask. Source: Ola

The feature is built into the Ola driver app universally but is only activated in areas where regulations require the public to wear a face covering, currently in Melbourne and New Zealand.

Ola’s technology verifies a driver’s image in the selfie against the file photo the driver submitted during registration.

If a discrepancy is detected, an Ola verification team member will manually check the photos to determine if they match. If the photos do not match or a valid selfie is not provided when prompted, the registered driver will be prevented from using the platform.

Simon Smith, Managing Director of Ola Australia and New Zealand said the technology is driver-friendly and will help provide a more reliable experience for passengers beyond the pandemic.

An Ola driver taking a selfie with the new mask selfie app
Ola says the selfie not only ensures drivers are wearing masks where mandatory but also makes sure the registered driver is at the wheel. Source: Ola

“The challenges of the pandemic have allowed us to think quickly and adapt our technology to further improve the safety of drivers and riders.

“The selfie authentication and mask selfie technologies underline our commitment to constantly raise rideshare benchmarks in the country,” Mr Smith said.

Ola has been trialling the selfie authentication technology in Canberra for over 12 months and said it has proven to reduce the rates of driver impersonation.

The technology will be rolled out to all of Ola’s metro and regional locations in Australia and New Zealand across the country starting September 1.

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